Let's Build The Battle of Targul Frumos

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 10 Nov 2002 14:57

"On May 2,the Soviets launched a renewed onslaught against GDs lines.After an hour-long "fire strike" by massed artillery,wedges of tanks and infantry advanced with more infantry masses in reserve.Gd's lines were rapidly penetrated in fierce fighting,and in the ensuing chaos individual tank-hunting teams stalked the Soviet armour with Panzerfausts and Teller mines.The Division's infantry lured the Soviet tanks into a line of 88mm Flak guns of Heeresflakabteilung GD.Using the tested "shield and sword" techinique the Flak first shot up 25 superheavy JS-II tanks.At this point of maxinum uncertainty and vulnerabiality the Soviets were then hit by the Tigers of III/Pz.Rgt.GD.Siimultaneously a battlegroup of I/Pz.A.R.GD and infantry advanced to scatter the enemy's follow-on infantry."

"GD made its first widespread use of the Panzerfaust at Targul Frumos and had great succes with it"

Thomas McCuirl& Remy Spezzano-God, Honour,Fatherland-A Photo History Of Panzergredier Division Grossdeutchland On The Estern Front 1942-1944

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 10 Nov 2002 16:39

Von Manteuffel gave the strength (Approx.) of the GD as follows prior to the battle at Targul Frumos
Two Infantry Regiments, each consisting of 2 Btn’s of 4 Companies of about 100men plus a Btn of Heavy Infantry weapons.
One Assault Gun Abt with about 40 guns
One Combat Engineer Btn at full strength
One Recce Btn at 2/3 strength
One Panzer Regiment with a Btn of MkIV (about 40 Panzers), a Btn of MkV (about 80 Panzers) plus a Btn of Tigers (about 40 Panzers) though according to the author the serviceable figure was 25,12 & 10 respectively, with the Assault Guns only numbering 25.
One Armoured Artillery Regiment with 3 Btn’s with a full complement of guns
One AA Btn with one light and 3 heavy (88mm) batteries.
Ample stocks of ammunition and fuel, ample means of communication (Radio & Telephone) with steady expansion of a wire net.

A Romanian Brigade who were deployed from Ruginoasa (In left part of GD’s sector) to the Serat, were strong in German automatic and antitank weapons plus artillery, though Manteuffel rejected the idea of mixing the Romanian Brigade within the GD structure. Not sure what the Brigade number, maybe Victor or Ovidious could help on that.

:D Andy from the Shire

combrig
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Rumanian Brigade at Ruginoasa

Post by combrig » 10 Nov 2002 20:06

Andt from the Shire wrote:
A Romanian Brigade who were deployed from Ruginoasa (In left part of GD's sector) to the Serat, were strong in German automatic and antitank weapons plus artillery, though Manteuffel rejected the idea of mixing the Romanian Brigade within the GD structure. Not sure what the Brigade number, maybe Victor or Ovidious could help on that.
Yeah, I think that this is important. Whatever brigade this was apparently abandoned its positions, allowing a Soviet advance that unhinged the left flank of Pz.Gr.Rgt. GD and forced SST to come to its rescue on the 3rd. The only unit that I know was out there was Korne's 1st Divizia Blindata, whose actions were commended by Wöhler, so it must be another unit. Anybody have any ideas?

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Post by Andy H » 11 Nov 2002 13:54

The only Romanian unit I've seen in ref to Targul F is that of the Romanian 18th Division but not in any context or detail.

:D Andy from the Shire

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 11 Nov 2002 15:41

Schwarzrock,Rudolf,Major.
I/Pz.Grenadier Regiment GD,Knight's Cross 8/19/1944.

Despide sustaining 6 wounds and losing his left leg,Major Schawarzrock fought along with his armoured grenadier battalion at Targul Frumos and Sereth in the first days of May 1944,gaining succes against the Soviets and setting a splendid example of devotion to duty.



Niemack,Horst,Colone.
Pz.Fusilier Regiment GD,Swords (69) to the Knigh's Cross 6/4/1944

On May 2, 1944 in the Targul Frumos area,the armoured fusiliers under the command of Colonel Niemack proved to be tougher than 32 enemy tanks.The Colonel,with a small group of determined men,threw themselves against the enemy tank attack and destroyed 8 enemy tanks in close combat.The Colonel was honoured with the swords to the oak leaves of the Knight's Cross.


Helmuth Spaeter-Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland.A Pictorial History.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 12 Nov 2002 09:11

combrig wrote: Whatever brigade this was apparently abandoned its positions, allowing a Soviet advance that unhinged the left flank of Pz.Gr.Rgt. GD and forced SST to come to its rescue on the 3rd. The only unit that I know was out there was Korne's 1st Divizia Blindata, whose actions were commended by Wöhler, so it must be another unit. Anybody have any ideas?
Could give more details on the actions of the 1st Armored Division? I do not know too much on their actions during the battle. In fact all I know is that the 1st Tank Regiment was deployed north of Halaucesti (see map). There were no engagements I know of.

Maybe this was the deployment of forces. Unfortunately I do not know too much on the battle from the Romanian point of view. Romanian military historians and memoirs (as few as they are) tend to focus on the Iasi-Chisnau (Jassy-Kishinev) offensive and events of 23 August. The battles in the spring are not well treated.

However, the theory that Cornel Scafes and Horia Serbanescu mixed up the months is growing on me. Could anyone who has a book on the history of the Grossdeutschland Division (and I believe there are several here) say if there were any engagements at the end of May-beginning of June in the area of Targu-Frumos?

Also I believe there people here who have Third Axis, Fourth Ally (Andy :D ). What does it say there regarding the battle?
Cheshire Yeomanry wrote: A Romanian Brigade who were deployed from Ruginoasa (In left part of GDs sector) to the Serat, were strong in German automatic and antitank weapons plus artillery, though Manteuffel rejected the idea of mixing the Romanian Brigade within the GD structure. Not sure what the Brigade number, maybe Victor or Ovidius could help on that.
Generally in the Romanian army the use of brigades as operational units was not something usual, like in the British army for example (except for the cavalry and mountain brigades in 1941-42). They did not have numbers. It was more of an ad-hoc combat grouping. They probably were named after the commander.
The OoB of the Guard Division was:
6th Guard Infantry Regiment
2nd Guard Vânãtori Regiment
9th Guard Vânãtori Regiment
1st Guard Artillery Regiment
2nd Guard Artillery Regiment
Cheshire Yeomanry wrote: The only Romanian unit I've seen in ref to Targul F is that of the Romanian 18th Division but not in any context or detail.
What is the source on that Andy?
combrig wrote: The Germans mostly seem to ignore the Rumanians when writing about this battle post-war, though at the time, they were most appreciative of Rumanian efforts. Thus, on the evening of the first day of the battle, Wöhler contacted Antonescu to report on the day's success and specifically singled out for praise 6th Divizia Infanterie, Divizia Garda, 1st Corpul Aerian and a the Rumanian artillery operating on the left flank of GD. Their role seems to have disappeared from postwar accounts, and Manteuffel goes out of his way to denigrate the Rumanians.
I am used to reading of this kind of behavior of German generals. Even Manstein who was a more objective observer of the Romanian army makes a lot of malicious comments in his memoirs and "forgets" to mention some important details when telling the story (I have written a ten page material on the Romanian troops under Manstein in Crimea). But of course at the time he could not have been contradicted, since in Romania it was as if the 1941-August 44 period did not even exist. It was easier for the German generals to blame their allies, the "huge" numbers of Soviet troops etc, etc for their failure.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 12 Nov 2002 13:24

Sorry. I forgot to post the other map. :D

Image

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 12 Nov 2002 15:40

On May 2, 1944 the Red Army began its offensive soutwards to break through to Targul Frumos and then drive onward to the oil fields.I.(SPW)/P.z.Gr.Rgt. GD and its Romanian allies occupied a well wired-in and T-mine-strewn line running to the right of 3.SS-Pz.Div. Totenkopf's positions.
The Soviets advanced in great waves,their tanks and infantry mixed together.Moving much faster then the Germans had anticiaped,they overwhelmed Leutnant Dieter Bernhagen's 1.Kompanie,wiping it out to the last man.While temporary Battalion commander Major Udo Schwarzrock attempted to halt and repulse the Soviets whith what was left of his Battalion,the Romanians to the left of 2.Kompanie cowered in their trenches like"herrings",as Company commander Oberleutnant Hans-Karl Richter later recounted.
Indeed,the Romanians seemed to have reached an unofficial ceace fire with the enemy.That night the Luftwaffe succeeded in mounting an air-strike in the enemy rear area,to no avail.The next morning the Soviets resumed their attack,preceding it with a bombartment of phosphorous shells.Over 100 enemy tanks and assault guns advanced against Richter's 3.Zug.With Romanian artillery remaining inactive,Richter could count only on the support of 3 of Oberleutnant Diddo Diddens's Sturmgeschutze and the four 15cm Neberwerfer multiple rocket launchers of 10./Pz.A.R. GD.

Richter's Company was soon back to the Nebelwerfer's position where it formed a "hedgehog" defence.Richter and a handful of his men then managed to gain the temporary safety of the railway embarkment in their rear.His battalion scattered,Major Schawarzroch send Obereutnant Richter with 4 SPW's to cover the wide-open left flank,,complety vulnerable when the Romanians abandoned their positions.
Althrough the enemy had not made eny deep penerations,the tension of the past 2 days had exhausted the Panzergrenadiers."Suddenly",Hans-Karl Richter wrote, "4 T-34 were in among the SPW's when, as if by magic,tanks and assault guns of the Totenkopf appered.Before a singe T-34 could train its gun,all had received direct hit".Immediately thereafter Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel's Ju87 Stukas led off a counter thrust by Totenkopf's Panzerregiment,accompanied by Richter's 4 SPW's.
The Panzergrenadiers took a measure of revenge for what they had endured over past 48 hours,and for their murdered comrades in 1. Kompanie,before being pulled out of the line to regroup and rest.


Thomas McCuirl& Remy Spezzano-God,honour,Fatherland...

That last part sure sounded like "no prisoners were taken".Haven't heard war crime accusiations against GD either.Just a typical day on Eastern front i guess


:?

Regards juha

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 12 Nov 2002 18:27

Hi Victor

I'm at work at present but I'll check my sources and let you know, but on the maps (One of which is posted on this thread, they all list a Romanian Bde but not its number :roll: )

:? Andy from the Shire

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Post by Andy H » 12 Nov 2002 22:05

FInally got home.

According to Third Axis Fourth Ally
"To add substance to this diversion they (Russians) mounted a heavy local attack on TF which was repulsed with great difficulty by a counterattack from the GD & 24th Panzer Divisions, supported on June 2-4 by the infantry of the Romanian 18th Mountain Division".

:D Andy from the Shire

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Post by Andy H » 12 Nov 2002 22:16

Just come across this KTB for AG South Ukraine dated 15/05/44 in Victor Madeja series on the Eastern Front which gives the OoB for LVII Panzer Corps as 3 SS PzGR Division (Kampfgruppe of), GD PzGR Division, the German 46th Infantry Division plus a Regiment from the Romanian 1st Infantry Division

:D Andy from the Shire

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Post by Victor » 13 Nov 2002 21:00

Andy I can see know that practically the same text is in my book, with some modifications.

Juha, I see you have a book on the GD Division. Does it say anything about some fights with the Soviet at the beginning of June 1944? I suspect Mark Axworthy and Cornel Scafes mixed up the months (June instead of May).

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Juha Hujanen
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Post by Juha Hujanen » 14 Nov 2002 15:44

Victor,book says that June 2 GD attacked from Podul to take hills on either side of Orsoaeria near Iasi,and by June 3 Orsoaria had taken.GD remained there until June 8 and after that it was send for rest and refitting in 62 miles south of Iasi.From these GD was send to Baltic.

Mayby you know better where in Romania those places are :)

Regards Juha

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Post by Victor » 15 Nov 2002 14:14

Podul Iloaiei is about 20 km east of Targu Frumos. So I guess that Mark Axworthy and Cornel Scafes made a small mistake here. They mixed up the offensive carried out by the GD with the Soviet offensive in May.

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Oberst H.U.Rudel

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 15 Nov 2002 16:25

Juha Hujanen wrote:....Immediately thereafter Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel's Ju87 Stukas led off a counter thrust by Totenkopf's Panzerregiment, accompanied by Richter's 4 SPW's. The Panzergrenadiers took a measure of revenge for what they had endured over past 48 hours,and for their murdered comrades in 1. Kompanie, before being pulled out of the line to regroup and rest....
Source: Thomas McCuirl & Remy Spezzano-God,honour,Fatherland...
Thank you for contribution, Juha. I don't remember if Oberst Rudel lost a leg hit by a AAA grenade during that action or the previous one...coming back to the front-line so heavily wounded after only few days. For this reason Goring asked Hitler in honour of Oberst Rudel a new Gold Knight Cross with oak-leaves, swords and diamonds never more released to other soldiers.
Gabriel Pagliarani

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